Use of ionic liquid for producing regenerated cellulose fibers
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The objectives of the research are to establish the process of obtaining regenerated fibers and films from wood pulp and bagasse pulp with the ionic liquid 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium Chloride (BMIMCl) as a solvent; to study the impacts on tensile strength of different spinning parameters; to find the optimal spinning condition, and to obtain regenerated cellulose products with flame retardant properties. Solutions were obtained by dissolving cellulose (wood/bagasse) pulp into the BMIMCl. The solutions were extruded in a dry-jet and wet-spinning method using water as a coagulation bath. The obtained fibers were tested to evaluate the properties such as tensile strength, thermal property, thermal mechanical property, crystal order, and ionic liquid residue in obtained fiber. The orthogonal experiments were designed to find out the strongest affective variable and the optimal condition of the spinning process. The regenerated cellulose films with melamine resin or zinc oxide were obtained. Their flame retardant properties were tested. Cellulose fiber with melamine resin was also obtained. Thermo-gravimetric analyzer (TGA) was used to measure the thermal properties of obtained products, and to calculate their activation energies. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) was used to determine the thermal mechanical properties of obtained fibers. Wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) was used to measure the degree of crystallinity and degree of crystal orientation. The tensile strength was tested by a tensile machine. To evaluate the quantity of ionic liquid residue in the regenerated fibers, the instrumental methods of FT-IR and Mass Spectrometry were applied. Research results indicated increases in the degree of crystallinity and storage modulus under a higher fiber drawing speed. Both regenerated bagasse fibers and regenerated wood fibers had similar thermal properties. However, the regenerated bagasse fibers showed a higher degree of crystallinity and a higher tenacity than the regenerated wood fibers obtained under the same condition. The study also revealed water treatment would be helpful for eliminating the ionic residue in regenerated fibers. It was also found the concentration of cellulose in the BMIMCl solution affected the tensile strength of regenerated fiber mostly. Certain amount of melamine or zinc oxide nanoparticles contained in the cellulose matrix could improve the flame retardant property effectively.